Do You React Or Do You Respond?
As a species blessed with emotions, and a race blessed with the perception of being intelligent, a pertinent question today, that we should definitely be seeking an answer to, is, do we ‘react’ or do we ‘respond’ to things around us?
So, what really differentiates a reaction from a response? Simply put, a response is an intelligent and responsible reaction. It’s our ability to apply our intelligence and accountability to acquired information before we react… to master holding back for those crucial five seconds between stimulus and reaction. Practicing ‘Response’ has proven to be the distinguishing factor between the wise and the not-so-wise.
Everybody reacts, it would be inhuman not to. But, not everybody responds. We live in times which call for us to adopt the path that leads us to respond, not react. Daily, innumerable instances need us to examine our responses before reacting – like controlling the urge to forward unverified (especially scandalous/sensational) messages across social media platforms, or speaking unkindly/brashly in a fit of anger, or then, resorting to lies as a knee-jerk reaction based on the fear of consequences.
However, where we currently most need to monitor our reactions – in keeping with the ongoing season of exam results – is how we, especially parents, react to our children’s score-cards. A disappointing grade becomes an emotional nightmare for parents and children alike. A poor grade is neither the measure of your child’s worth nor the measure your parenting skills. It simply serves as a red flag for potential problem areas of your child that need attention and corrective action. Your harsh reaction could worsen things by negatively impacting the child’s motivation, self-esteem and sense of control over his/her learning – making it even more challenging to do better in the future.
There are numerous ways to handle such situations – you first need to be a good listener so you can discuss the issue with your child, as opposed to going into lecture mode where your child zones out on you – first because of fear and then, sheer boredom. Praise the positives of your child – inside and out of the report card; Create a game plan together – get the help your child needs, and most importantly, remind yourself and your child that no one is perfect, and that lesser marks don’t lessen your sense of pride in your child. And then see the magic unleash!
But for this and more… you would need to practice the wise art of ‘Responding’, instead of ‘Reacting’, which is known to have culled out success from failure itself.
Have a good weekend!